Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen followed up Mark Cavendish's win yesterday with one of his own. The Norwegian stomped down the cobbled streets in Terni today and held off André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol).
"The plan from the start was to go for Cav in the sprint," Boasson Hagen explained. "With about six kilometres to go, he said that he was not feeling great and that I should try to sprint. It was nice to have a chance and finish it off for him when he wasn't feeling good."
Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) - for a second day running - surged forward in the final metres, today for third place.
Matt Goss retained the leader's blue jersey since his GreenEdge team won the opening time trial leg. Team-mates Stuart O'Grady and Cameron Meyer are second and third overall at three seconds.
Different teams came to the front to take the leader's jersey, but mostly to position their men for the sprint. RadioShack, Lotto-Belisol and Liquigas ripped around the ring-shaped circuit, Sky had Boasson Hagen in tow. Cavendish, today in the red points jersey, was noticeably missing.
"He decided he wasn't going to sprint, so they went for Edvald," Sky race coach, Rod Ellingworth explained. "I think there was a little bit of confusion, though, and they struggled to get it together."
Despite the confusion, Sky went two for two in Tirreno-Adriatico's sole sprint stages. Ellingworth added, "You can't get any better than that, can you?"
The race crosses the Apennine Mountains for three days before its finish, a time trial, in San Benedetto on Tuesday.
Sky's Ian Stannard and GreenEdge worked hard all afternoon, from the blustery start in Indicatore, where Cavendish won yesterday, to the death of the lone escapee. Italian Filippo Savini (Colnago-CSF Inox) attacked at kilometre zero in the 178-kilometre stage and gained 11 minutes. His day ended at 28 kilometres remaining when BMC Racing closed off the others' work.
Daniel Oss hit the front for Sagan, Lampre followed and Sky advanced.
"Mat Hayman," Boasson Hagen said, "did a good job in the last kilometre."
Greipel had Marcel Sieberg to help, but Boasson Hagen squeezed in and muscled ahead.
"I didn't look around to see if Greipel was on my wheel or not, what counts is the line, to cross it first. When I came over the line, I didn't see anyone."
Goss will likely wave goodbye to his lead tomorrow, however, he may have more of a chance to keep it. This afternoon, after reviewing weather conditions, organisers cut the Passo Lanciano 50 kilometres before Chieti.
"Maybe I will go for GC now if they cancelled all the climbs!" Goss said. "It was going to be a long day tomorrow, but in some way it's not bad to get a long seven-hour day. It's good preparation for Milano-San Remo, but clearly we can't go down wet, snowy descents."
Lanciano climbs to 1310 metres, too high with the cold weather. Prati di Tivo at 1450 metres, the finish of the fifth leg on Sunday, faces the same risk.
Organisers for now have cut Lanciano, but maintained the distance at 252 kilometres.
Tirreno-Adriatico 2012, stage three: Indicatore to Terni, 178km
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky in 4-45-31
2. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale at same time
Overall classification after stage three
1. Matt Goss (Aus) GreenEdge
2. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) GreenEdge at 3 sec
3. Cameron Meyer (Aus) GreenEdge at 3 sec
Mark Cavendish leads the points classification
Race leader Matt Goss and GreenEdge
Edvald Boasson Hagen out-sprints Andre Greipel and Peter Sagan for the win
Winner's spoils: Edvald Boasson Hagen on the podium
Tirreno-Adriatico 2012: Latest news
Sprinters opt for Tirreno to warm up for Milan-San Remo
GreenEdge's time trial practice pays off
Tirreno-Adriatico 2012: Stage reports
Stage two: Cavendish wins opening road stage
Stage one: GreenEdge take Tirreno-Adriatico opening team time trial
Tirreno-Adriatico 2012: Related links
Tirreno-Adriatico 2012: The Big Preview
Tirreno-Adriatico 2012: Who will win?
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